Monday, April 13, 2009

Another week in my odd but fun life

As I write this (well, wrote...) Matt is out on the patio in 30 mph winds checking the steaks we have on the bbq for our Easter dinner. I just walked into the kitchen and thought I heard bagpipes but realized it was from over our heads. The wind was playing “Danny Boy” on the top of our stove pipes. It’s a blustery, rainy Easter here in Seattle and so after church we headed to a warm Fremont diner for a late breakfast. “Isn’t it going to be crowded?” I asked. “No,” Matt responded, “Fremont is where the heathens live, they won’t have been in church on Easter.” Sure enough we walked in and sat down, haha.

But let me rewind a bit. A couple of weeks ago Matt and I got to explore the Ballard Farmers’ Market. I love farmers’ markets. You get fresh food usually at a lower price, support the local economy, meet the farmers, all that warm fuzzy feeling stuff. Well, you still got that at Ballard but one dozen eggs was six I’m not kidding you SIX dollars. That’s 50 cents an egg! They might as well have been made of gold! Most things there were sadly not just more expensive but RIDICULOUSLY more expensive. We did make off with a couple pounds of fresh clams for less than market price, but other than that we kept our money away from the homespun wool-clad hippie farmers.

What we did spend our money on was these out-of-this-world cupcakes from a café called Cupcake Royale. Lordy Almighty. If you come to Seattle I’ll have to take you there.
After that Matt wanted to try this Caribbean food place in Fremont (you know, where the heathens live). We parked next to where it was supposed to be and smelled this amazingly delicious aroma. There was a tavern, and then a little no-name shack next to it. No name, no menu or anything, but it was packed as tight as a southern woman’s girdle. That was “Paseo,” our Caribbean joint but they only took cash. Well, we thought that tavern smelled like it had pretty good food, but we’ll check for an ATM first. We walked by as a drunk man stumbled out and slurred “Ers en dere,” as he stumbled out of the tavern’s door. The brief opening let loose a stench of piss and sour beer and the neon glimpse of an ATM machine. So much for thinking that place was where the good smell was coming from! As Matt drew out cash I thanked God for the umpteenth time that neither of us found that setting appealing.

We went back to the shack (I’m not kidding you, tin roof and everything, and no I didn't take the last 3 pics but the rest are mine) and squeezed our way into the stuffy but amazing-smelling room. Twenty minutes and two growling stomachs later we had our food and were driving back to Queen Anne. I remembered that that night was the night that all the major cities around the world were all turning their lights off at 8:30—what better place to watch that from than Kerry Park? We pulled up and ate our WONDERFUL Caribbean food in the car. So good it’s almost a Mexican food fix. My boss was telling me about a place that supposedly has good Mexican food. “No refried beans or that yellow cheese, you know? It’s authentic.” I nodded but wanted to say, “Have you BEEN to a burrito shop in Tijuana? Give me the refried beans puh-lease!”

Anyways, we were a little early so we headed to our favorite café—El Diablo—and sat down just as a blue grass band was warming up. Now I may not have been to Texas since I was a two-year old in ruffled panties and a bonnet, but country is a state of mind and raised by the southern women as I was I loved it. Steel guitar, fiddle, a base, mandolin, and a couple of regular guitars all played by an older group of folks in a circle tappin’ their feet to the beat. One man was dressed up in his Sunday-go-to-meetin’ with a collared white shirt under his nice blue overalls and a straw hat. And, I kid you not, the wife of one of the player sat in the corner humming along and knitting. Where are we again?

We headed back to the park for the exciting moment when the lights of downtown would turn off. We huddled in the high 30 degree chill and waited. 8:30. Nothing. 8:31. Nothing. Nearly five minutes pass as I begin to lose feeling in my nose. Then, the Space Needle turns out. Ooooh. We wait for the rest. Nothing. That was it?! So not worth the cold, but at least we can saw it.

A few weeks ago I planted my flower seedlings, then about 11 days ago I planted my snow peas and sunflowers. And they’re growing! Last Saturday I got up relatively early for a Saturday morning (8:30!) and after my coffee, bacon and eggs I bundled up and headed to the patio to transplant my little seedlings to the pots. I’d also stocked up on some ranunculus, lobelia and diascia to bring some color to the patio. It was a brisk 40 degrees but being on the fifth floor it was wet and very windy, and it wasn’t long till I was chilled to the bone. I made myself a cup of coffee in a thermos cup and headed out again. Roy sat at the window and whined, pretty worried that I was out there and he wasn’t. In fact, the rest of the day he was such an attached doting dog I’m considering going out on the patio without him every morning just to feel even more wanted than I already do! Lol, just kiddin’ y’all. He is funny when he’s in a clingy mood. You can’t sit or stand without him leaning on you or lying on your feet. Or he’ll crawl up in your lap to be cuddled like a poodle. When he’s not clingy, though, he’s pretty relaxed, as you can see in the picture. That chair he has claimed as his throne, and when we had company over for Passover and took the blanket off he was very offended. One of our guests dared to sit there and Roy sat in front of him staring him down.

I guess that brings me up to Passover, though. Tuesday day I thought, “Man, it would be nice to have a seder this year.” The seed was planted. Passover began officially Wednesday at sundown leaving me little more than 24 hours to get everything ready if I wanted to do this. But hey, I thought, even if it’s just Matt and I it would be worth it. I texted Matt to ask if we could do it and invite our friends from Point Loma—Stephanie and Peter. He called and said yes, and he was going to invite his coworker. I told my Point Loma friends they were welcome to invite their small group, I would just need a definite number by that night. After work I went to the store and loaded up on parsley, matzoh, and a ton of frozen chicken. I got a text from my friend Stephanie, “Two more and possibly another two.” That would put the guest list at 10. Ten? Wait a minute, my table is small (not figuratively, but literally!). The most that can fit around it is 6! Uh-oh. Why did I send that “come anyone!” invite! Because the Passover table is open to all. The words came back to me from a Jewish Haggadah I had read earlier that day. Ok, I thought, We can sit on the floor, like they used to do. But I needed to know how many to cook for. I was making dinner the night before and there’s a big difference between 6 and 10! I never got a response from Stephanie, so not wanting to not have enough food I made two big dishes of a chicken/pasta/cream sauce dinner. And enough spinach salad to feed a small village. That night Matt and I cleaned, cooked and prepped for the coming dinner.

The next day, about an hour before the dinner I got the final number—6. Just us, Stephanie and Peter, and Matt’s coworker John and his wife Carrie. None of them had ever been to a Passover seder before, and having watched my parents do this for many years I knew we had big shoes to fill. Matt and I divided the readings and co-led it. At first, it was completely silent and I began to get a bit flustered they were all thinking, “What the haggadah have we gotten ourselves into?!” By the break for dinner I was nearly in a sweat wondering why I had decided to invite people who by now probably thought I needed to be locked up or sent straight to Jerusalem. I would try to explain why I found it so interesting but get so excited my words would tumble out like jibberish and I would turn red. This was not going as planned.

By the end, however, the group reading together had gone from uncertain to speaking aloud with authority and strength. Each read their part in the telling of the Passover story, and by the end we all chimed in “Next year in the new Jerusalem!” When it was over, John and Carrie brought up their rambunctious black lab/shepherd mix named Cooper to play with Roy. Everyone stayed for awhile, and it turned out they liked it! When Stephanie and Peter left they called out, “Next year in Jerusalem!” and John and Carrie replied, “The NEW Jerusalem!” I couldn’t have been prouder! Roy and Cooper romped to their hearts content and John and Carrie didn’t leave until 11:30. That being said I finished the last of our enormous amount of pasta today (5 days later…we’ve eaten it almost every day), and we still have a ton of spinach.

I guess this brings me up to Easter. We went to the late service at the same church where I had been distracted by the deaf ministry and the pastor had likened us to applesauce. I like to think of it as giving them another shot but sadly we couldn’t find anywhere else that really appealed to us. We actually made it out the door on time, and were directed into a parking lot by a man with a flag next to two blank signs. Huh? We never figured that part out, but there were attendants with giant umbrellas walking people from their cars to the sanctuary which I thought was nice. It was raining pretty good, making for my first non-sunny Easter ever. The worship needs some desperate help but the message was really good and reminded us why we had liked the church in the first place. We’ll be trying it again next week, although I’m still not sure how I like being locked out of church. Oh, if you haven’t heard that story two weeks ago we tried to go to the night service but were a bit late. We thought, “Oh well, we’ll miss the worship but make the message.” The church was locked! I was appalled! Who locks a church door? During a service? Don’t they know it’s the people who are late who probably need it the most? But God gives lots of chances so I guess we should too. The diner we got our late breakfast at (In Fremont, remember? Where the heathens live?) was a tiny place, hardly any bigger than our living room. The waitresses could only fit into the back of the bar area one at a time, but we had great service! I did bump someone who was walking by me when I itched my back, but that’s just the kinda place it is.

The rest of the day consisted of going to Fred Meyer and finding a bottle of wine called “Mad Housewife,” watching movies, napping, steak, cookies, and more movies. Side note--I'm not a mad housewife, I just thought it was hilarious. Matt keeps checking on me. It was odd not to go see family, have someplace to go. I miss all of you, and wish you had been there with us for our cold walk in the rain.

Another side note.

Mini-synopsis of the craziness of Seattle streets. I’m working on a map for the crew who come here and need a simple guide to the city. Simple my foot. By taking this one—yes one—road that winds from the north of Queen Anne, down and around a lake the street’s names go from (big breath):

W Nickerson to Westlake Ave to Valley to Fairview Ave to Eastlake Ave to 11th Ave.
Whyyyyyy? Oh, another favorite? Leary Ave NWto NW Leary Way to Leary Way NW. Would it have killed them to call it Leary?

Enough ranting. I’m off to bed. Thanks for reading, y’all. I love any comments or feedback or stories of your own. My goal is to try to write a bit every day. Whether it’s a part of the morning cup or another story, I need to get back in the habit. If you need something to watch I posted a video of Roy making noises like Chewbacca on my facebook, and my Aunt Wendy told my mom about this website that I too am now addicted too— I’d love to have something like that up and running one day—thanks for the inspiration Aunt Wendy!

Love to you all, and I’ll leave you with a quote by Annie Keary from Joy & Strength:
“The time of singing of birds is come,” –the time when nature calls aloud to us and bids us awaken out of the deadness of personal grief, and rejoice in the new manifestation of His beauty that God is making to the world. ‘Behold, I am alive for evermore, and the dead live to Me.’ Was not this the secret saying which the new verdure was writing all over the hills, and which the young pattering leaves and singing-birds were repeating in music? It must be well to have ears to hear and a heart that could respond with a little flutter of returning joy and thankfulness.”

think he loves the dog?

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